I love R-Type so the chance to go back and review Super R-Type, felt like a no brainer today.. Then I realised the checkpoints are few and far between.. few being none, and far between being nowhere near this game…
And thus my nostalgic trip back to my favourite shoot-em-up franchise came crashing back to reality. I’d start a game, happily coast through the first level, all the way to the stage boss, get totally obliterated as I didn’t see the attack pattern straight away, then restart at the beginning of the stage to do it all again..
Normally I don’t mind this kind of thing. It helps you learn from mistakes and you progress through memory. Only the first stage in this case just feels bland, there’s nothing really challenging for the 3 odd minutes you’re cruising through until you reach the boss (who quickly dispatches you) with no real clues given straight away as to safe zones or warning for attacks.
And this occurs with the second stage as well, with the boss’s weak spot designed to entice new players into attempting to destroy before completely obliterating you with a giant cannon shot of a laser blast. And the way you figure this attack out, is down to the same die, rinse, repeat rule.
Once you know the trick, and once you’ve slogged through the level again, the boss is a walkover, and yet this just feels like a poor way of making a difficulty curve. Ideally, when a player is defeated, the player both feels like it was their fault for dying (which it usually is…) and learns a valuable lesson to prevent it from happening again. But with Super R-Type, learning goes hand in hand with death, death, death, and presumes you’ll try everything until you succeed. This just feels a tad unfair to the player. especially considering both the design and music of the game really hits the mark.
Like Gradius III before it, Super R-Type also falls down when the s**t hits the fan with slowdown on screen as it tries to juggle multiple assets until normality is restored. While this isn’t the fault of the game, and more a hardware issue, it’s an annoyance on top of the mundane that almost drove me to the end of not continuing.
Overall, Between Gradius III and Super R-Type id have to pick Gradius III as the better game to play, which is a shame as the licence could’ve knocked this out of the park with the right coder